France's government is responding to the recent explosive protests of vintners and farmers with a new aid package. This includes the immediate establishment of an emergency fund amounting to €80m to support vintners struggling with liquidity issues, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Is there money for moving away from viticulture?
Starting from 5 February, relevant applications can be submitted to the responsible prefectures, with the funds to be paid out promptly. In addition to this immediate aid, "structural support from the state amounting to an additional €150m on top of the funds from the national wine program" is promised. This is intended to "enable vintners who decide to withdraw from wine production to remain in agriculture and to invest in other agricultural productions that are adapted to the areas and their climate," it was stated.
Already in 2023, France had launched several aid packages, partly funded by EU resources, in addition to distillation aids for over 3m hectolitres of wine, with a financial volume of ultimately €200m. Thus, €60m were released for struggling organic farmers, and after the autumn, another €20m aid package was put together for vintners in economic difficulties.
According to the industry media Viti, vintners are not satisfied with the measures – besides the immediate financial aid, structural measures were needed. Specifically, simplified administration, simplified ownership changes for agricultural enterprises, support in finding and hiring labor, improved harvest insurance, environmental standards adapted to practice, and a price guarantee are demanded.
Other farmers also receive help
Meanwhile, farmers in northern France affected by bad weather can apply for aid from an immediate assistance fund amounting to €20m, with a maximum of €20,000 to be paid out per enterprise. For livestock farmers, an emergency fund of €50m was announced, among other things.
Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced further measures at a press conference on February 1, 2024, including "tax and social support" amounting to €150m for livestock farmers. VM